1970 Year in Review
Late in 1969, two-time Speedbowl champion Newt Palm was seriously injured during a race at Seekonk (MA) Speedway and retired from racing shortly thereafter. The L&M car was then handed over to Walt Dombrowski. Walt won the first race of 1970 at the Speedbowl, and went on to lead the division with 5 wins in route to the championship. It also gave car owner Stanley “Stosh” Miezejewski his 3rd Modified Championship in 4 years. Glynn Shafer won 4 times and Dick Watson also won 4 times (including 3 of the last 4 events of the year) driving Norm Kies‘ #21 machine
1970 marked the end of an era with 3 of the Speedbowl’s best ever retiring from competition. In addition to Palm, 5-time champion Don Collins finished 2nd to Walt Dombrowski in the 1970 opener. Then promptly notified car owner Billy Simons after the race that he no longer had the desire to compete and retired on the spot. Collins never drove competitively again. Charlie Webster then returned to the “Excavator Special” team that won 3 track titles together during the 1950’s. Charlie won the final two features of his career in June and shortly after, he too retired. (Dick Dunn took over driving duties from there and also won 2 races). Collectively, Collins, Webster and Palm won over 225 feature events and 13 Track Championships during their careers at the Waterford Speedbowl.
In the Daredevil division, Ron Cote earned his first Speedbowl championship. He was a 4-time winner. Johnny DeLong led the divisions with 5 wins. Bob Gada won the season ending 36-lap event, the longest distanced race of the season. Former 2-time Champ Bill Sweet won 4 times as well, including two special 35-lap features.
The NEMA Midgets returned to the Speedbowl in August. Len Thrall won the 25 lap event. Rita Prescott and Ann Belliveau won the two Powder Puff Derby events.
Early in the year, Nick Dinsmoor‘s #16 car flew over the backstretch wall during the feature. He was the third person in track history whose car completely left the racing area during competition. He walked away uninjured.